I remember hearing a lot about A Silent Voice when it was released.
The film got a lot of praise as one of the best animated films of 2016 and there was much controversy (entirely warranted in my opinion) that films like the Boss Baby were nominated at the Oscars over it.
However, despite the praise, I never got around to watching it.
In fact, prior to a few days ago I had never watched anything Kyoto Animation had made, as far as I am aware.
This changed when news of the horrific arson attack at their studio, which has currently claimed 35 lives, hit me.
Along with this news, I heard countless statements about what a wonderful studio it was and how it not only put out amazing anime but also provided progressive working conditions for its staff, which is unfortunately a rarity in the anime industry today.
This motivated me to watch A Silent Voice and experience the emotional roller coaster the film is.
And, after seeing it, I can say that I regret not watching the movie when it first came out.
A Silent Voice is an incredibly thoughtful and tear jerking movie that can only be described as an experience.
Directed by Naoko Yamada, and based off the manga by Yoshitoki Ōima, our main character is Shoya Ishida (Miyu Irino), a student riddled with guilt over his relentless bullying of a deaf girl named Shoko Nishimiya (Saori Hayami) years ago.
Struggling through depression and isolation because of his actions, Ishida sets out to makes amends and pursues a friendship with Nishimiya.
And so the emotional tale unfolds.
I have to say that choosing Ishida for the main character was a risky move since showing the perspective of a bully could have failed miserably.
Had A Silent Voice gone the cliche route with Ishida simply being misunderstood and acting out because of a bad home life, it would have done so.
Thankfully, Ishida’s actions are portrayed naturally with reasons given for why he treated Nishimiya so horribly.
But, this does not excuse Ishida of what he did and he knows this.
His guilt manifests in such a harmful way that he can no longer look anyone in the eye, ingeniously shown by a blue X over his classmates’ faces.
The journey he goes through to make amends with those he has hurt and to forgive himself is moving.
Along with him, we are also given the struggles of Nishimiya as she deals with her hearing impairment in a world that struggles to understand and often lashes out.
The growing friendship of her and Ishida, and both of them moving towards self acceptance, is the emotional core of the film, resulting in many tear jerking moments.
I am not ashamed to admit I cried at the film’s ending.
However, A Silent Voice is also an anime that deals with harsh material like suicide so it is not for the faint of heart.
Even if you think you will be alright watching it I still suggest preparing the tissues before doing so.
A Silent Voice may be my favourite anime film.
I know I have just seen it but I cannot remember the last time an anime affected me on such an emotional level.
I am just sad that it took the tragedy at Kyoto Animation for me to finally watch it.
I will leave the link to the GoFundMe page for Kyoto Animation down below.
Over two million dollars has already been raised and it would be great to see this number rise.
I hope the money goes to helping the victims and their families, and I hope this is not the end for Kyoto Animation.
I could say a number of things to sum up A Silent Voice and what an emotional experience it is but, after thinking it over, there is really only one thing that needs to be said.
Thank you, Kyoto Animation.
To help Kyoto Animation you can donate at https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-kyoani-heal